On a warm July morning, Norfolk farmer, Chris Harrold, is getting ready for harvesting his crop of Maris Otter barley. This particular type of barley is one of the highest quality strains you can get, and it is destined for a pint of Young’s Bitter.
Maris Otter is a very old strain of barley and was bought back in the early 1960s because of its high quality. It is used primarily in our Young’s beers.
The high demand for farmers’ crops means that Wells and Young’s must develop close relationships with farmers to make sure that they grow the specific crop that we need as a brewer. Therefore, long-term contracts are put in place showing that we guarantee to buy those crops from the farmer.
Chris and his team set to work harvesting the barley in a magnificent, bright yellow combine harvester.
Wells and Young’s buy about 12,000 tonnes of malted barley a year, which requires 4,000 acres of land on which to grow. 1.25 tonnes of barley makes one tonne of malted barley, and on average, around 35 barrels of beer (10,000 pints) can be made from one tonne of malted barley. This means that an acre of land in Norfolk can grow enough barley to make a staggering 24,000 pints of Young’s Bitter.